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Four Steps To Saving Your Marriage.

Updated on December 25, 2009
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Realistically, tips and advice on how to save a failing and struggling marriage abound.

Everything from books, seminars, or solicited (and unsolicited) advice on what you should do to save your marriage is abundant.

With all this information available though, why is that in many lands, the rate of divorce has been on a steady climb?

* Divorce Becomes The Norm.

According to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead; co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and author of the book The Divorce Culture, after the sixties "the rate (of divorce) accelerated at a dazzling pace."

She continued: "It double in roughly a decade and continued its upward climb until the early 1980s, when it stabilized at the highest level among advanced Western societies. As a consequence of this sharp and sustained rise, divorce moved from the margins to the mainstream if American life in the space of three decades."

The fact that this rise was not only considered sharp, but sustained as well, concerns many of us striving for a happy, successful, and long-lasting marriage.

In addition, a quick look at the world news will leave one feeling that divorce is all a part of the "norm," leading many to wonder if any marriage can survive.

* No Marriage Is Perfect.

The notion that one can achieve a perfect, stress-free and problem-free marriage just doesn't exist. Due to human imperfection, a perfect marriage is just not possible.

In addition to trials and tribulations (due to financial, physical, emotional, or mental setbacks), misunderstandings and disagreements, some marriages have been tainted by infidelity, strong resentment, and bitter, sometimes abusive speech.

So what's a couple to do if feel their marriage is on the brink of collapsing? Is divorce always the answer? Or are there steps they can take to save their marriage?

* Four Steps That Could Save Your Marriage.

Since I am by no means a licensed marriage counselor, you may ask; "Why should I listen to what you have to say?"

Simply put, you don't have to - but I have been an eyewitness to its success.

So just what are the four steps couples can take to begin putting their marriages back together?

  1. Make A Resolution - The old adage goes, "there is no I in team." With that said, spouses should agree to work together on making their marriage a success. Writing down their decision on paper will bring a sense of ownership to the agreement, and will solidify both partners commitment to saving the marriage.
  2. Identify What The Problem/Problems Are - In one sentence/statement, each spouse can write or verbalize what they think is lacking, or what they think is causing the rift in the marriage. An honest, open-ended, and non-debatable discussion can ensue concerning each others feelings and desires.
  3. Set Reasonable And Attainable Goals- Once you've open the lines of communication, as a team set reasonable and attainable goals regarding what improvements you both want to make in your marriage. In addition to attaching ownership to maintaining your goals, and providing a clear vision as to what you both what to achieve, put them down in writing and sign your names to the finished product. In essence, it's as if you and your spouse are signing a contract with each other, promising that you'll do your personal best to achieve the goals set out before you both. If signing your name to such an agreement does not appeal to you, simply skip that step and make a verbal promise instead.
  4. Get Counseling - More often than not, counseling of some sorts is needed to help couples get over their most difficult hurdles. Whether this counseling be of a spiritual nature (such as spiritual advisers from one's place of worship), or more mainstream (such as a licensed marriage counselor), avail yourself to that additional help and apply the advice accordingly.

Realistically, solving ones marital problems will not happen overnight. It will take time and considerable effort on the part of both spouses.

Whatever you do, don't be so quick to give up if you're efforts seem to get you "nowhere fast."

Keep in mind the encouraging words from the book, The Case for Marriage (by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher): "The truth is shocking: 86% of unhappily married people who stick it out find that, five years later, their marriages are happier."

So if you're experiencing trouble in your marriage, why not give these suggestions a try. They just may be the steps vital to saving your marriage.

(*It is vital to note, that although these tips can be applied to even the most strained marriages, marriages where there is extreme physical, mental, or emotional abuse may call for different action. In the end, it is up to the individual to decide what is best for them and their family - especially when children are involved).

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I want to commend you on your great recsuroe for parents and kids going through divorce. Divorce is a very difficult process to go through for everyone involved. As your website points out, helping children through a divorce is the most important aspect. Your kids will need help to get through this stage and onto the rest of their lives. Thanks for your great recsuroe.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by wordscribe - marriage is hard work, and the only way it's going to be successful, is if both parties work at it. Thank you for your wonderful feedback.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Fabulous tips, Veronica. No doubt about it, lots of people have a misconception that marriage will be a walk in the part, LOVE will prevail, yada yada yada. But, you're so right, we're merely humans. I know a few marriages that bombed because they entered into it with preconceived notions that weren't realistic. People forget it's not all so romantic and glamorous: cleaning up skid marks isn't exactly something people think about when exchanging vows... Thanks for this very important hub.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      So true, so true H.C. Porter. It does seem to be that only one person is willing to make the efforts and changes needed. It is a rarity that both spouses are willing to change - Sad, but true. Thanks for stopping by.

    • H.C Porter profile image


      9 years ago from Lone Star State

      Nice Hub. Good advice, that is if both people are willing to take the steps. Unfortunately, many times one person just isnt willing to make an effort and expects the other to change or give up.

      HC Porter

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you cleon123 for stopping by and leaving this additional information. During my research I couldn't find the most recent statistic of divorce in America, so this was very informative as well.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative.

      Recent statistic show that in America the divorce is 4.95% per 1000 people

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you RevLady for stopping by and for your comments and thanks. It's true, much like Hello, hello stated, the key is whether or not both couples want to save their marriage. "There is no I in team", so if both are not willing to put the work into it, the whole process will be to no avail.

    • RevLady profile image


      9 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      Good suggestions VA. Of course the comments of Hello, hello is the key. Thanks for trying to assist those who truly desire saving their marriage and willing to put forth the required effort.


    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I agree with you Hendrika - my mother too had to make the hard decision to divorce. The effect was palpable, but it was necessary. In the end, it's truly up to the individuals to determine what's best for them. Especially in cases where there is extreme abuse, is it advisable for the abused spouse to leave. I'm glad that the decision you made worked out well for both you and your children. - That's what is important. The statement that you made about divorce being so easy now, that was like hitting the nail right on the head.

      Thanks for stopping by. I always look forward to your feedback. You always leave me with something to think about.

    • Hendrika profile image


      9 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Some good ideas here. We must keep in mind though, that with the rising divorce rate the fact that it is easy to divorce now is important. We must remember that many years ago people stayed in unhappy marriages because divorce was simply not an option.

      I agree that "sticking it out" sometimes work, but sometimes it does not. I stuck it out in a very bad marriage for more than 10 years before I gave up when it became clear there is no hope. So for 10 years I went through hell for nothing!

      Now I'm remarried and in happy marriage. We have just celebrated our 30th anniversary. So for me divorce was the right thing to do. Even the kids say they do not even want to know what would have happened if I did not "get out!"

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      So true Hello, hello. That's the only way it will work. Hopefully, if one spouse begins the process, the other spouse will come around - it definetly takes a team effort. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you and your family safely see the new year arrive.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Good advice but it would work if both are willing. Merry Christmas


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